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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources


Living in Light of Two Ages



Happy Thanksgiving!

The Riddlebargers will celebrate Thanksgiving this year by attending Christ Reformed's annual Thanksgiving Service (led by Rev. Chris Coleman), and then we are off to my mother-in-law's house nearby for the traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Lord willing, it will be a "nutribullet free" weekend of ham, turkey, dressing, pie, leftovers, and a massive tryptophan coma.  Back to the nutribullet on Monday!

There is much for which to give thanks!  Every Lord's Day we witness answers to prayer in our church family, my wife and I are well, my sons make us proud, and I continue to enjoy my work.  

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!  As the Psalmist says (Psalm 107:1-9), 

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble

3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;

5 hungry and thirsty,their soul fainted within them.

6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.

8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.


Hal Lindsey Celebrates his 85th Birthday -- But His Mustache Is Only 40

End times prognosticator Hal Lindsey just celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday.  Although his 1969 book Late Great Planet Earth was the first theology book I read on my own as a teenager, I have since moved far away from Lindsey's dispensational premillennialism.

While I am thankful that God has granted Mr. Lindsey long life and good health, I cannot help but wonder if Lindsey is surprised to have lived this long without seeing the Rapture.

One thing has always bothered me about Lindsey--besides his eschatology.  The older he gets, the darker his mustache becomes.  Men usually start to go grey at the chin, temples, and mustache in their late 40's.  Indeed, Lindsey has a fine head of silver hair--the well-earned sign of long life.  But his mustache is a whole generation younger than the rest of him!

One of the most popular posts in the history of this blog was "signs of the end" and the changing colors of Hal Lindsey's mustache (There Will Be Signs on the Earth).  And so as we wish Mr. Lindsey a happy birthday, we wonder, if like the leaves changing color in the Fall, whether or not his mustache will grow old with him--or if it will continue to stay 40.


"The First of His Signs" -- John 2:1-12

The Eighth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Jesus’ first disciples heeded his invitation “to come and see.”  They soon confessed that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, the one promised throughout the Old Testament, and the Son of God.  Jesus had promised them that they would see angels ascend and descend upon him–just as Jacob (Israel’s great patriarch) had seen in his vision.  During their first two days with their new master, Jesus promised the disciples that “you will see greater things than these.”  The time has come for them to witness Jesus’ first miracle, when our Lord turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana, an event which points to the great messianic wedding feast yet to come.

After spending seven Lord’s Days in the first chapter of John, today we make our way into the second chapter of John’s Gospel and the account of Jesus’ first miraculous sign which he performed at a wedding in the village of Cana.  Just as his calling indicated, John the Baptist now fades into the background.  Although we will read of the Baptist later on in chapter 3, that greater one than John, and who was before John, has now come.  John must decrease and Jesus must increase.  As we saw last time, this shift in redemptive history can be seen when the Baptist directs two of his own disciples (Andrew and likely, John, the disciple and author of this Gospel) to leave him and instead follow Jesus, marking the beginning of the Messiah’s public ministry.  

In chapter two of his Gospel, John’s account of Jesus public messianic mission is under way.  In fact, John (the disciple) will focus upon the messianic ministry of Jesus in the next eleven chapters (2:1-12:50).  John will demonstrate how Jesus’ preaching and miracles reveal the glory of God, which has been veiled in his incarnation as indicated in verse 14 of the prologue.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Jesus will reveal the glory of God through his words and deeds–but supremely at the cross.

In this section of John, the scene shifts from the wilderness east of the Jordan River (out in the sticks, where John the Baptist had been preaching) to the more populated area on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee, in the area around Nazareth.  Jesus has a group of disciples numbering at least five now traveling with him.  When John the Baptist directed two of his own disciples to follow Jesus, Jesus then asks these inquirers to “come and see.”  They do so, and one of them, Andrew, went and told his brother (Simon Peter), that he had found the Messiah.  Andrew invites Simon to come and meet Jesus (he does) and Jesus renames him Peter, which means “rock” in Aramaic.  When Andrew encourages Peter to “come and see,” we see the theme of John 1:35-51 now emerge: “witness bearing.”

Andrew also went and found Philip, urged him to “follow me,” to “come and see” for himself about Jesus.  Philip went to Jesus, Philip believed, and in turn, he went and found Nathanael (likely the personal name of Batholomew), telling him in verse 45, “we have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Despite Nathanael’s scepticism about the possibility of anything good coming out of Nazareth, he accepts Philip’s invitation to meet Jesus.  When Nathanael approaches Jesus, Jesus not only identifies Nathanael as an honest man and a true seeker, but Jesus also reveals his supernatural knowledge, informing Nathanael that Jesus saw him sitting under a fig-tree without ever laying an eye upon him.  Nathanael responds with his own confession of faith in Jesus:  “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here


Thanksgiving Week at Christ Reformed Church (November 24-30)

Sunday Morning (November 30):  We begin a four part Advent series by focusing upon the eternal Son of God from Micah 5:2.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday AfternoonKen Samples is conducting our catechism service which begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  No Bible Study this week

Thanksgiving Service (November 27):  Rev. Chris Coleman will be conducting our annual Thanksgiving Service which begins at 10:00 a.m.  You are cordially invited. 

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church


"The God of All Grace" -- 1 Peter 5:1-14

Here's the audio from the twelfth and final in a series of sermons on 1 Peter

Click Here


Audio from Ken Samples' Academy Lecture (11/21/14)

Here's the audio from the sixth and final lecture in Ken Samples' Academy lecture series "If I Had Lunch with St. Augustine."  The lecture is entitled, "Augustine’s Alleged Blind Spot and Negative Influence.  Click Here


This Week's White Horse Inn

Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam

What are the major differences between Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, and how can we reach out to people with Hindu or Muslim backgrounds? On this live edition of White Horse Inn, Michael Horton will discuss these important issues with Hicham Chehab of Salaam Christian Fellowship and Isaac Shaw of Delhi Bible Institute.

Click Here


Friday Feature -- Waffle House

Thankfully, we don't have Waffle House in So Cal.  But I've been in one on several occasions.  Many customers were smoking.  Once I found partially removed lip-stick on my coffee cup, and on another stop there were remnants of a petrified fried egg stuck to my plate.  Yet the food wasn't bad . . .  Hard to ruin breakfast.


Breaking News . . . Joseph Smith Had Forty Wives . . . I'm Shocked . . . 



Earlier this month, the Mormon Church officially acknowledged what the most ardent of Mormons did not know (or refused to believe); that Joseph Smith had at least forty wives.

According to a recent article in the The New York Times (a once reputable and respected publication),

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.

The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith.

If those outside the church found this revelation as confirmation of what was self-evidently true (that Smith made up Mormon doctrine as he went along--as in the case of "plural" marriage), it came as a real shock to the Mormon faithful who are used to the idealized image and life story of the Joseph Smith portrayed in the painting above.  One life-long Mormon was especially taken aback by the revelation that Smith had as many as 40 wives, including a young teenage girl.

“Joseph Smith was presented to me as a practically perfect prophet, and this is true for a lot of people,” said Emily Jensen, a blogger and editor in Farmington, Utah, who often writes about Mormon issues.

She said the reaction of some Mormons to the church’s disclosures resembled the five stages of grief in which the first stage is denial, and the second is anger. Members are saying on blogs and social media, “This is not the church I grew up with, this is not the Joseph Smith I love,” Ms. Jensen said.

What makes the revelation of Joseph Smith actually practicing what he preached (plural marriage) so problematic is not that he had multiple wives, or even that he married a teenager (as bad as that was), but that he was sealed to other men's wives for eternity.  The shock is not plural marriage, but what amounts to perpetual and eternal adultery.

The essay on “plural marriage” in the early days of the Mormon movement in Ohio and Illinois says polygamy was commanded by God, revealed to Smith and accepted by him and his followers only very reluctantly. Abraham and other Old Testament patriarchs had multiple wives, and Smith preached that his church was the “restoration” of the early, true Christian church.

Most of Smith’s wives were between the ages of 20 and 40, the essay says, but he married Helen Mar Kimball, a daughter of two close friends, “several months before her 15th birthday.” A footnote says that according to “careful estimates,” Smith had 30 to 40 wives.

The biggest bombshell for some in the essays is that Smith married women who were already married, some to men who were Smith’s friends and followers.

The revelation of Smith's other-shore eternal philandering presents major problems for Mormons because Joseph Smith did the very thing which church doctrine promulgated under his tenure as God's "prophet, seer, and revelator," expressly prohibits.

There remains one way in which polygamy is still a part of Mormon belief: The church teaches that a man who was “sealed” in marriage to his wife in a temple ritual, then loses his wife to death or divorce, can be sealed to a second wife and would be married to both wives in the afterlife. However, women who have been divorced or widowed cannot be sealed to more than one man.

I think it was Donald Grey Barnhouse who once quipped that you can always tell a false religion invented by a man--there will be sex (usually lots of it) in the afterlife.  In this case, Joseph Smith not only "sealed himself" to multiple maidens and widows, but also to other men's wives.

I wonder what the husbands of these wives would have done, had they known the prophet was ogling their wives with less than honorable intentions, and was actively scheming to prevent them from enjoying their own eternal marital pleasures by stealing their wives for himself.


"Follow Me" -- John 1:35-51

The Seventh in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

John the Baptist said of Jesus, “he must increase and I must decrease.”  In the closing verses of John chapter 1 this is exactly what happens.  John identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  John also identifies Jesus and the very Son of God.  Jesus is that one greater than John, who was before John, and about whom John had been preaching.  But John represents the old order of things about to pass away into obsolescence, because the turning point in redemptive history has come.  When Jesus approaches John a second time, John directs two of his own disciples to follow Jesus because he knows the messianic mission of Jesus is about to begin.

As we continue our series on John’s Gospel, John’s account now moves on from the messianic forerunner (John the Baptist) to the Messiah himself.  In verses 35-51 of John 1 (our text), the focus shifts away from preliminary matters to the formal beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  In this section, we have John’s account (likely as an eyewitness and participant) of Jesus initial meeting of several of the men who would become his first followers, men whom eventually we come to know as Jesus’ “disciples.”  Our text can be a bit confusing because it recounts events not found in the other gospels, and which at first glace may even seem to contradict the account of these same events in the synoptics.  As we will see, this is not the case and these issues are easily resolved.

As we saw a couple of sermons ago, the events which follow immediately after the prologue of John (vv. 1-18) focus first upon John the Baptist (vv. 19-28), then John’s identification of Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (vv. 29-34).  But in our passage (vv. 35-51), John recounts events which occur over the next two days.  The time line and chronology which is set out by John in this section of his Gospel is interesting, if not highly symbolic.  In verses 19-28, the first day in this sequence of events, John the Baptist (the other John) is confronted by a group of Levites and priests from Jerusalem.  These men (who are likely aligned with the Sadducees) were either sent by Pharisees, or else included Pharisees among their number.  This is significant because the Sadducees and Pharisees were theological and political enemies–they hated each other, but were united in their opposition to John.  
John the Baptist was the son of a priest and Levite, and so the group of Jews who came from Jerusalem to confront him out in the Judean wilderness, were probably troubled that one of their own had strayed from the faith.  When the group finds John, they ask him if he is the Messiah.  John says no.  They ask him if he is the prophet.  He says no.  They ask him if he is Elijah come back from heaven.  John says he is not.  Well, then who is he?  John tells his inquisitors that he is the voice out in the wilderness (foretold in Isaiah 40), warning Israel that the Messiah is about to be revealed.  But the real issue for the group sent from Jerusalem is that John is preaching and baptizing without the permission and sanction of the Jewish religious leadership, and even worse, the number of people following John out in the wilderness is growing rapidly.  Something significant is going on.  Messianic expectation was reaching a fever pitch.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here